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Election 2014 a focus for Multicultural New Zealand

Election 2014 a focus for Multicultural New Zealand

The 2014 election will be a key focus for multicultural councils in communities around New Zealand for the next two months, says Multicultural New Zealand, the Federation of Multicultural Councils.

Building on election policies published earlier this year, Multicultural New Zealand representatives have met with political party spokespeople to promote the policies and invited them to address the organisation’s annual general meeting in Wellington.
Panelists were Hon Trevor Mallard (Labour), Hon Peter Dunne (United Future), Asenati Lole-Taylor (NZ First) and Jan Logie (Greens). List candidates Pryanca Radakrishnan (Labour) and Sultan Eusoff (United Future) also spoke. Two political parties, Labour and United Future, used the occasion to formally launch election policies – Labour their immigration policy and United Future their ethnic affairs and immigration policies. Multicultural Councils will now organise meetings with local parliamentary candidates in their regions.

Delegates were also addressed by Executive Director Tayo Agunlejika on building the ethnic constituency and Harry Tauafiafi from the Electoral Commission on encouraging registration on the electoral roll. Mr Agunlejika noted that the ethnic constituency continues to grow in significance, and that the Asian population in New Zealand, for example, is predicted to increase to 790,000 in the next twelve years.

The annual general meeting also included discussions on funding and managing volunteers. A session on family violence in ethnic communities focused particularly on preventive factors such as cultural identity, community safety, participation and inclusion.
Weng Kei Chen of Christchurch and Grace Hollander of Palmerston North (formerly of Christchurch) were awarded life membership. Both were founding members of Multicultural New Zealand (then the Federation of Ethnic Councils) in 1989. Merit certificates were awarded to Arish Naresh (Tairawhiti Multicultural Council), Raveen Annamalai (Wellington Multicultural Council) and Rob Torr (Rangitikei/Whanganui Multicultural Council.

A highlight of the meeting was the multicultural gala and awards night organised by the Wellington Multicultural Council at Shed 6 on the Wellington waterfront, attended by several hundred guests to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Multicultural New Zealand and to recognise local members of ethnic communities who have made outstanding contributions.

Alexis LewGor succeeded Priyani de Silva-Currie as President and will lead an executive team comprising Arish Naresh (Vice President), Anita Mansell (Treasurer), Marie Johnstone (Secretary) and Priyani de Silva-Currie (Immediate Past President). Ganges Singh, Lonie Martin and Yoonha Park were re-elected as Presidents of the Seniors, Women’s and Youth Councils.


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